Audrey Hepburn circa 1956. Photo by Bud Fraker.
Remember that Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster you thumbtacked to your dorm-room wall oh so long ago? How would you like to up the ante and own Audrey Hepburn’s actual script (typewritten!) with her handwritten notes scribbled in the margins? In September, approximately 400 personal items belonging to Hepburn will be auctioned by Christie’s in London. The live auction will take place on September 27, 2017, while the online auction will run from September 19 through October 3, 2017. Certain fashionistas, style setters, Seventh Avenue garmentos (who get most of their fashion cues from the divine Hepburn every spring, it seems) can only be presumed to be agog.
“How much interest from collectors and fans do we expect to see for this collection?” Adrian Hume-Sayer, head of sales for the Audrey Hepburn Collection, asked rhetorically when reached recently at the Christie’s warehouse where he was unpacking boxes. “How long is a piece of string?”
Although Hume-Sayer is loath to give pre-sale estimates, he said, “Interest in this sale is likely to be extraordinary. Audrey’s appeal is endless . . . It’s goose-bumps time. There’s nobody like her. No one.”
The Hepburn auction will encompass the actress’s film scripts (Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Charade), couture from the likes of Valentino and her dear friend Hubert de Givenchy, instantly recognizable photographs, and personal letters and memorabilia. As such, it should appeal to socialites, the über stylish, anyone with an eye toward Hollywood and who loves Audrey Hepburn, which is pretty much everyone, right?
“I mean, politics is so depressing, retail’s in a slump,” observes fashion insider Amanda Ross Bacon, “but the Audrey auction is—we need some happy news! I was like a little girl when I learned about it—I gasped! The chance to own anything connected with Audrey—you feel like you’re being invited to a private club . . . It’s very generous of her two sons to allow her beautiful things to get out in the world.”
Is she planning to bid? “Oh, I’m planning my strategy now.”
With the maturation of online bidding, Hume-Sayer believes the auction will be a global affair, and pointed out that Christie’s has an app for that.
Designer Jeffrey Banks, who was a friend of Hepburn’s, said, “I never thought I’d see an auction like this in my lifetime—the opportunity to own something Audrey owned—I can’t even imagine it. I never thought I’d see this day.” And what might he bid on? “I’d love to have something of hers—being a designer—anything by Givenchy, of course, although I would be happy with any little memento—anything that she touched or she owned or she loved, I’d be happy to have.”
Moon River, indeed.
And what would Hepburn think of all this hoopla? According to her great love, Robert Wolders, “I am convinced that Audrey would be very much in favor of the auction. She was extremely practical and would have found very little sense in various items lingering in a dusty warehouse rather than be enjoyed and appreciated. As you know, Audrey was a minimalist in her taste . . . therefore, each object had a specific memory and significance for her, both those that are kept within the family and the ones to be included in the auction.”
Asked once to describe her life, Hepburn said, “lucky.” The Hepburn obsessives to whom this auction represents a lifetime opportunity are surely nixing gym memberships and lattes and stockpiling cash, while hoping for some luck of their own.
Audrey Hepburn’s working script for the 1961 Paramount production Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
(All Following Photos: Courtesy of Christie’s)
(L) A Givenchy cocktail gown of sky-blue cloquée satin, Autumn/Winter 1966/67. / (R) A beige cotton trench coat by Burberry, 1980s.
A cigarette lighter with the inscription “FOR MY FAIR LADY.”
A selection of ballet pumps in a rainbow of colors.
A powder compact by Ciardetti, Firenze, with a hinged lid with blue, green, and red enameled monogram “AHF,” opening to reveal a single compartment with a mirror, with an original black-slip case.